Raya and I sat at a table in the restaurant as we waited for Idara, who was late as usual.
“I wonder when this girl will change.” I said.
“I’m sure she’ll even be late on her wedding day.” Raya said giggling.
We sipped our drinks while talking about small nothings, blissfully unaware that our lives were about to change.
A young man sitting about three tables away stood up to leave. He took one step forward and fell. I initially thought he tripped over something but nah, he was unconscious. People tried to help in the ways they knew: pouring water on his face, shouting, wailing, and even pinching him. Yeah, all sorts of weird things.
However, since our muscles were completely incapable of lifting such a hefty man, Raya and I stayed away, observing from a distance.
“What’s going on here?” Idara said as she joined us. She sank into the chair next to me and tossed her oversized red bag on the other empty chair.
“Late comer! Why exactly are you just coming?” Raya queried.
“I’ll tell you but please fill in a sister first.”
“One guy just slumped there and people are trying to ‘wake him up’. I wonder what could have caused this in such a young man.” I said.
“His village people must have been after him.” Raya responded flatly.
“You’re too superstitious Raya! I’ve told you so many times that it’s not everything that is diabolical. It could have been anything from hypertension to…”
“Tah! Hypertension in such a young person? Hypertension is an old person’s disease my friend.” I replied confidently.
Idara’s eyes were wide as saucers in disbelief.
“WHAT?! Are you still living in that ignorant zone? Even children of a few weeks old can have hypertension!” she exclaimed.
“Children?” Raya asked.
I gave her the ‘whatever‘ look.
“I know that look but I’m dead serious girl. Hypertension is getting more rampant in young people. In fact, I came across a study on hypertension done in Enugu, on people between 18 and 40 years, and up to 1 in 5 of them had hypertension.”
“Wow. That’s quite startling.” Raya said.
“It really is. That’s why to avoid stories that touch, people who don’t have hypertension should check their blood pressure at least once a year so that they can detect any abnormalities early before the damage is done. So many people walk around for years, completely unaware that they have hypertension, while the body’s organs are slowly damaged. Then something unexpected like this happens, and people will start saying it’s one witch in the village… like someone here whose name we won’t mention.” Idara said winking at me.
Raya playfully tried to hit her across the table, almost spilling what was left of our drinks.
“I don’t blame you… At least I didn’t come late like some people I know.” Raya said.
“About that,…” Idara leaned forward, gossip style and our ears perked up. “…have you heard of MMM?” she asked.
“Huh? Is this supposed to be a funny joke?” I asked, rolling my eyes. “MMM that has come and gone… MMM that made many people cry and gave them hypertension? You better change the topic before someone comes to arrest you.”
“Wait joor! Let me finish. This is not the Mavrodi Ponzi Scheme. This MMM actually prevents hypertension from going undetected for long. It stands for May Measurement Month, wherein the month of May each year is dedicated to measuring your blood pressure and creating awareness about hypertension and its effects. So, if people like us who don’t have hypertension make it a point of duty to check our blood pressure at least once a year, in May, we won’t forget, and then hypertension can be detected early.”
“Yeah. I was finishing an online MMM campaign, so that’s why I was late. And once we are done here, I’m dragging you two with me to get your blood pressure checked.”
“Hmmm. Ok. That’s a good cause. We forgive you.”
Stories that touch – Unpleasant experiences
Wait joor – Be patient
Further Reading on MMM and Hypertension
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